Historical Archaeology

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 70–84 | Cite as

Late Modernity and Community Change in Lattimer No. 2: The American Twentieth Century as Seen through the Archaeology of a Pennsylvania Anthracite Town

Research Article
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Abstract

The shanty town at the periphery of Lattimer No. 2 began in the 1880s as an ephemeral settlement for new immigrant workers. Situated within the pluralist labor hierarchy of northeast Pennsylvania’s coal region, Italian families created a community here at the edge of an ethnically diverse, but spatially divided, company-town landscape. Here, and in places across the nation, the 20th century brought about transformations in the intimate relationships among individuals, economies, and the state. Giorgio Agamben proposes that the dominant paradigm of this political economy is materialized in places like the shantytown, paradoxical spaces in which “law and fact ... have become indistinguishable,” and individuals exist within “a constant state of exception.” Archaeology conducted in the shanty enclave of Lattimer No. 2, viewed through the long duration of the 20th-century political economy, illuminates this formation through its materialization of shifting landscapes, buildings, and boundaries.

Keywords

archaeology governmentality labor history anthracite mining critical archaeology 

Extracto

La ciudad de chabolas en la periferia de Lattimer No. 2 comenzó en los años 1880 como un asentamiento efímero para nuevos trabajadores inmigrantes. Situada dentro de la jerarquía de mano de obra pluralista de la región minera del nordeste de Pennsylvania, las familias italianas crearon una comunidad aquí en la periferia de un paisaje de ciudad-empresa étnicamente diverso, pero dividido espacialmente. Aquí, y en lugares por toda la nación, el siglo XX trajo transformaciones en las relaciones íntimas entre los individuos, las economías y el estado. Giorgio Agamben propone que el paradigma dominante de esta economía política se materializa en lugares como la ciudad de chabolas, espacios paradójicos en los que “la ley y los hechos … se vuelven indistinguibles”, y los individuos existen dentro de un “estado de excepción constante”. La arqueología realizada en el enclave de chabolas de Lattimer No. 2, vista a través de la larga duración de la economía política del siglo XX, ilumina esta formación mediante su materialización de paisajes, edificios y límites cambiantes.

Résumé

Le bidonville à la périphérie de Lattimer No. 2 a commencé dans les années 1880 comme une implantation éphémère pour les nouveaux travailleurs immigrés. Situées au sein de la hiérarchie de travail pluraliste de la région charbonnière du nord-est de la Pennsylvanie, les familles italiennes y ont créé une communauté en bordure d’un paysage multiethnique mais divisé dans l’espace. Ici, et dans certains endroits à travers le pays, le 20e siècle a entraîné des transformations dans les relations intimes entre les individus, les économies et l’état. Giorgio Agamben propose que le paradigme dominant de cette économie politique se matérialise dans des endroits comme le bidonville, des espaces paradoxaux où « le droit et le fait sont devenus impossibles à distinguer » et où les individus existent dans « un état constant d’exception ». L’archéologie menée dans l’enclave du bidonville de Lattimer No. 2, examinée à travers la longue période de l’économie politique du 20e siècle, éclaire cette formation par sa matérialisation des paysages, des bâtiments et des frontières en mutation.

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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MarylandWashingtonU.S.A.

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